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What exactly is #blackgirlmagic ?

Clarissa Joan poses this question and other inquiries of race and womanhood in her article, “Black Girl Magic Defined: Do You Put Your Race before womanhood” in Madame Noire.

When I first saw the hashtag, I knew #blackgirlmagic was all about our limitless strength and power. Every day, I’m in awe of the goals, accomplishments and grace of black women —

My BFF, a Nigerian American, finished law school and is using her degree to start a natural hair care and education empire– #blackgirlmagic
Another bestie started her PhD in 2010 when we finished college; and despite roadblocks, she’s defending this Friday- #blackgirlmagic I’ll be there giving her a standing ovation because we celebrate each other – #blackgirlmagic

Are black women more black than woman though? Personally, I’d say no. Historically and socially, black women have had a subordinate status in both their gender and racial social groups. During the women’s movement in the early 20th century, white women advocated and benefited. The needs of black women were not included. Many black women including myself and Alice Walker have felt ostracized in the feminist movement and identify more as a womanist. Being a woman is incredible but as a black woman, I don’t see myself in the American feminist movement. Furthermore, historically and currently, black women take a backseat in the fight for black rights and liberties. An example is President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. Don’t get me wrong, it is an incredible program and much needed; but black girls are not included.

We will support and contribute to the program’s success though because that’s #blackgirlmagic. In both our identity groups, our needs are secondary, so we’ve learned (and are taught) to create our own opportunities and support each other through it. This past Friday, I experienced an amazing #blackgirlmagic moment.

Marissa Germain of the Millennial Takeover and I hosted a happy hour in Washington, DC for millennial women. Most of us did not know each other but as soon as we met, it was like we were old friends. We laughed, talked, shared our weekly accomplishments and really enjoyed ourselves. I left the meet-up feeling inspired and motivated.

It was really encouraging to spend time with women that understand and empathize with my journey. Since I was on such sisterhood high after the event, I didn’t learn of the Paris attacks until Saturday morning.

Heartbreaking. Devastating. Evil. My heart goes out to everyone affected by these horrific crimes. I pray the culprits are brought to justice, by any means necessary.

However, I’m happy I learned of the news after experiencing a night of #blackgirlmagic. Being around these women reminded me that we have the power to change the world. At a time when we’re consistently seeing unprecedented acts of violence and terrorism, we can be the change we want to see. How? By continuing to be exemplary role models in our community and at home. As mothers, aunts, sisters, girlfriends and cousins, we will continue to show love and how to love to the next generation and our peers. As successful career women, we’ll teach the next generation tenacity, perseverance and how to be a contributing member of society.

We’ll do this with grace and integrity because that’s what we do. That’s #blackgirlmagic. Our CMB community it’s full of #blackgirlmagic and I’d love for you to join it. Click here to join our mailing list!

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